Duckburg: Quaint Cartoon Village or Duck-Supremacist Oligarchy?
Note: My only source for all of this is the Disney Fandom wiki, and no I do not care to do any additional research that may disprove any hypotheses below, thanks.
After watching a mediocre Ducktales theme-song parody video, I awoke today with the Ducktales theme song firmly implanted in my head (thanks for that, reddit).
Life is like a hurricane here in Duckburg
Race cars, lasers, aeroplanes, it’s a duck-blur!
Might solve a mystery
Or rewrite history!
(I suffer, you suffer.)
Which got me to thinking: Scrooge McDuck, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, and the nephews exist in a universe that encompasses other species of animals, like Mickey Mouse and Goofy. So … do other animals live in Duckburg? Or just ducks?
Well, dear reader, as is my wont as an American in 2021, I did very little research yet came to the most extreme, least-logical conclusion: Duckburg is a segregationist, duck-supremacist city-state.
It brings me no joy to reveal this. But allow me to lay out the evidence.
Integrated cities in the DuckTales universe
Duckburg is one of the cities in Calisota, a fictional U.S. state that is analogous to Northern California. Several other cities home to various animated luminaries are also located in Calisota, such as Mouseton, “the hometown of Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Minnie Mouse, [and] Clarabelle Cow.”
There are three different species in this excerpt alone. Mouseton is clearly an integrated city. Calisota is not an inherently segregated state.
Let’s check in on another Calisotan city, St. Canard, “the home of Darkwing Duck, his adopted daughter Gosalyn Mallard, and his neighbors, the Muddlefoots, which includes Honker Muddlefoot, Gosalyn’s best friend.”
Honker Muddlefoot is a goose. Still a bird, sure, but not a duck. (It’s very possible that, as in our human world, certain species are less-threatening to bigoted ducks than others. So perhaps geese are allowed in St. Canard but not dogs, for example. I don’t know, I don’t make the rules.)
Meanwhile, Duckburg “maintains a traditional rivalry with Goosetown, a nearby town.”
“Traditional rivalry,” huh. Yeah I bet.
History of Duckburg
As revealed in the comic His Majesty, McDuck, the location that would eventually become the centre of Duckburg was originally known as “Fort Drake Borough,” a fort built in the 16th century by British explorer Sir Francis Drake. By the 19th century, the fort had been handed over by its departing British occupants to Cornelius Coot, who renamed the fort “Duckburg.”
Sir Francis Drake, get it? Because a drake is … never mind.
But Sir Francis Drake was real (and a human, but roll with it). Let’s check in on ol’ Sir Francis:
Drake, the famed Elizabethan explorer, and a vice-admiral in the fleet that defeated the Spanish Armada, was also a slave trader, making three voyages to Guinea and Sierra Leone that enslaved between 1,200 and 1,400 Africans between 1562 and 1567 — a figure that probably meant the deaths of around three times as many, according to contemporary estimates.
The founder of Duckburg was a slaver. This is my shocked face: 😐.
Duckburg remained a quiet, small town until the arrival of wealthy businessman Scrooge McDuck. McDuck had purchased the old fort from Casey Coot, a descendant of Cornelius. Scrooge proceeded to construct his famous money bin and established various businesses in and around Duckburg. This construction caused Duckburg’s population to swell and turned the small town into a bustling city within several decades’ time.
Gee, I wonder what made Duckburg so attractive to Scrooge McDuck?
Either way, sounds like this offensively wealthy and powerful duck basically built the town — in his own image, you might say.
Duckburg is probably the largest city in the state of Calisota, but not its capital city. There are no references to the governor, legislature, capitol, etc., of Calisota in several comics with Duckburg as its main setting. Duckburg seems to have its own governor; therefore, it could be a sort of city-state. In more than one story, a “Duckburg embassy” is shown, which would place it outside the USA at a legislative level. In a story by Barks, the Duckburg embassy displays a flag of Duckburg, which consists of a white duck over a green field.
Well isn’t that just convenient? Duckburg is an entity apart from its surrounding state, with its own laws — perhaps after seceding from Calisota? What might cause a bustling city to secede?
“Judge me by the enemies I have made.” — FDR
You can’t get rich and powerful like Scrooge without pissing off some anthropomorphic animated animals. After all, the duck keeps his gold coins in a Money Bin (its actual name) towering over Duckburg, a symbol of a net worth that is so expansive he runs from literal money tsunamis.
McDuck’s biggest enemies are the Beagle Boys, a family of dogs who try to rob him (maybe try a bank, Scrooge, just an idea). The Beagle Boys are henchdogs for Flintheart Glomgold, “Scrooge McDuck’s long-standing arch-nemesis and business rival.” Glomgold’s purpose in life is to usurp the title of “World’s Richest Duck.”
The leader of the Beagle Boys is Ma Beagle. Her husband is Papa Beagle. She also has nieces (the Beagle Babes), grandchildren (the Beagle Brats), and a father (Grandpappy Beagle, aka “Blackheart Beagle,” naturally).
And she has a pet, Brutus, who’s … a dog. 🤔
So, to recap: A large family of dog criminals tries to make ends meet by stealing money from the richest duck in the world to give to the second-richest duck in the world to make him the richest duck in the world.
Yeeeaahhhh, not on the nose at all.
How many of my fellow geriatric millennials played the NES “DuckTales”? ✋
Good game, admittedly. Had a pogo cane.
In this game, Scrooge traveled to “African mines, The Amazon, The Himalayas, Transylvania, and the Moon” to seek treasure. Not only is he a vulture capitalist at home, he travels abroad to underprivileged animal kingdoms (and the moon) to loot their treasures.
A short list of Scrooge’s “enemies” from the NES video game:
- Mountain goats
- Literally flowers
See what’s happening here? They expect you to believe that all of these species are evil. But who’s the real enemy here: the snake minding his own damn business or the colonizer duck in a fucking top hat?
Art imitates life
I think the evidence is clear. DuckTales is no cute childhood cartoon. It is, irrefutably, pro-gadzillionaire propaganda meant to disparage hard-working, family-oriented dogs and to rehabilitate the public image of a violent, immoral wealth-hoarder and colonizer who engineered his own town to be institutionally speciesist.
Whether he gets away with it is up to you.